15 Reasons Why Your Organization Needs a Success Story

by jdn74 on August 19, 2011


Rainbow Lorikeet with a seed in its beak

As the old adage says, Nothing Succeeds like a Parrot with No Teeth.

But seriously, folks …

Whether you refer to them as case studies, customer profiles, featured projects or application briefs, business success stories are an essential element of any good marketing mix, useful in B2B sales, B2C campaigns, and Non-Profit fundraising alike.

 Here are 15 reasons why they work:

1.  As Brian Clark, founder of CopyBlogger, states: “What others say about you is so much more important than what you say about yourself.” Success stories act as a customer reference and establish your credibility.

2. Success stories sell softly (say that five times fast!) by educating prospects about your products or services instead of pushing for an immediate purchase.  It’s a proven, effective approach, and one especially suited to a tough economy.

3. The more you tell, the more you sell … especially when persuading someone to make a costly or complicated purchase. The 2-4 page length that is standard for case studies gives you plenty of space to demonstrate how your solution is the right answer for your prospect’s problem.

4. When a success story is well told, it acts as any good story does and allows the reader to enter into the narrative and experience themselves in the shoes of your featured customer, facing and overcoming their challenge.  If they can identify, then they may also buy.

5. Which is someone more likely to remember — a list of facts and figures, or a well-told tale? The truth is that people prefer stories, and so do their brains.

6. The natural structure of a success story focuses on benefits over features, and that is also what matters most to your customers.

7. They strengthen current partnerships because your featured client also receives exposure from the case study.

8. Fresh content is essential to any organic search strategy and success stories provide that for your website and other digital channels.

9. You’re not the only one who wants to share great content.  Your fans do too! In Content is the Fuel of the Social Web, a research study published by AOL and Nielsen, they reveal that 23% of all social media messaging contains links to content. And that number jumps to 47% when the conversation is industry-specific. So publish a success story and give your followers something to talk about!

10. Instead of just telling about your product or service, a success story shows it in action, used in real world applications and problem solving.

11. Success stories can be utilized to accomplish more than just sales goals.  They can also be written to showcase best practices for training purposes; to highlight the benefits of membership during a recruitment campaign; to keep investors and board members up to speed on your company’s progress; and to give potential donors a closer look at the good you do in the community.

12. They are a flexible vehicle capable of carrying a broad spectrum of relevant content, including:

a. Patient Care — e.g. individual or group outcomes

b. ROI analysis for a product or service

c. Research results — including surveys, product testing, and other analyses

d. Best practices — e.g. a sales “win-story” used as a training tool or a source of team inspiration

e. Reputation management — e. g.  instead of a standard product story, showcase how your business is making a difference in the community or reducing its carbon footprint

f. Thought leadership — while calling yourself a thought leader is a bit presumptuous, you can use a case study to demonstrate how your organization is applying innovative approaches to a particular business challenge, or to detail the efficacy of a new method or idea that you’ve championed.

g. And, of course, there is the standard format for success stories — telling how a product or service has solved a problem or increased revenue for a particular client.

13. Case studies are valuable for addressing the needs of a diverse range of people both inside and outside your organization.  Some of these include:

a. Educating salespeople, channel partners, and new employees.

b. Demonstrating value to investors and analysts.

c. Giving journalists a good story and reason to talk about your company.

d. Winning over new customers, and strengthening relationships with existing ones.

14. Success stories are a versatile type of content.  Once you have the story down, it can be reproduced or repurposed across many channels and formats other than the standard web page or PDF file.  (More on this in my next post…)

15. And finally, as the old adage goes, Nothing Succeeds … like Success!

So, did I miss anything?

What are some other reasons you think success stories are (or are not) a valuable sales & marketing tool? Sound off in the comments below.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Mimi August 22, 2011 at 10:22 am

All you missed was a link to an example — by which, I mean that the bulk of cases out there just aren’t worth reading. They’re handled 180-degrees wrong and so don’t communicate even a few of these 15 points, and we’re primed to see stories that do. Got ‘em?


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